Stuff to Read

Sorry I’ve been scarce. It’s been nutty here. I did get my second Pfizer shot, though, so that means in a few days I’ll be invincible, or something.

Tom Nichols, The Atlantic, The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages

The Republican Party has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.

I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.

No one thinks much about the Soviet Union in the late 1970s, and no one really should. This was a time referred to by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, as the vremya zastoi—“the era of stagnation.” By that point, the Soviet Communist Party was a spent force, and ideological conviction was mostly for chumps and fanatics. A handful of party ideologues and the senior officers of the Soviet military might still have believed in “Marxism-Leninism”—the melding of aspirational communism to one-party dictatorship—but by and large, Soviet citizens knew that the party’s formulations about the rights of all people were just window dressing for rule by a small circle of old men in the Kremlin.

Greg Sargent, WaPo, A former CPAC organizer’s broadside shows conservatism’s ongoing descent

The CPAC gathering is planning numerous panels devoted to variations of the idea that there was massive voter fraud, that numerous states failed to adequately run their elections, and that judges and the media have refused to adequately vet the evidence of all those failures.

Cardenas has long been a critic of Trump. But this latest turn nonetheless represents yet another marker in the conservative movement’s ongoing descent.

Sargent pointed to this snip of an intervidw of the current American Conservative Union Chairman, Matt Schlapp. Clearly, they are doubling down on the “election was stolen” lie. It’s all they’ve got, apparently.


10 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. I read the Tom Nichols article comparing the Republicans to the Soviet Union of the 1970s. The big difference is, that by 1970-80, Lenin had been dead for decades; Trump is very much still alive, as are all the contenders to promote him or inherit his mantle. 

    It's less about burying a corpse (the USSR), and more about going beyond Reagan to pure authoritarianism / fascism, which has always been hiding in the background of the GOP, for decades. It's now moved center stage.

    It's really, really naive to think the Republican Party is dead, they're more than ready to go full fascist. Biden / Harris is the last barrier they need to blast through.

    • Nichols's point (if he has one, and it is by no means clear that he does) is that Bolshevism lasted exactly a human lifetime — as it could have been foreseen to do, because memory is everything and memory is over.  Within that span, early and late stages are discernible (and, again, could have been predicted). 

      Whatever our thing is — call it Republikanism — is now as old as Bolshevism was when Khrushchev consolidated his power.  The last phase of Bolshevism, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, was marked by bureaucracy and therefore by myth.  What today's Republikans have in common with their counterparts of the Brezhnevshchina is the obsession with myth.  They may not have come to it by exactly the same path, but it is all they have left.

      But the difference is that no one in Russia believed any of the myths and where they were constrained to pretend that they did, they knew they were pretending.  The Republikans have forgotten that they are pretending.  This means that reality impinges on them in different and more toxic ways.  But it has thirty years to run.  By 2050 there will be [as near as] no one left who remembers Reagan.  Then it will all collapse.  Of course other things will collapse along the way.

  2. Schlapp is a schmuck.

    With the coming of Spring, the teh stoopid gets longer and longer each day.

    Today, it appears as if the entire KKKonservative (bowel) movement has put ALL of their chips on that bigoted, "ig'nant" and stupid chump: Donald J. tRUMP.

    They're not diversifying their political investment.

    They're ALL in!

    "In," on a soon-to-be 75 year-old, limitlessly narcissistic man in poor physical and mental health.


    Good bet.  Meaning it's not.  Sarcasm. At least NOT a good bet on a level playing field.

    But you don't expect to play on the level.  You will fix the game as best you can, and intimidate the other side until you think we'll quit.

    Bad choice 16O years ago.  Bad choice now.

    But you've shown us your true colors.  And those colors do run – they run away from democracy, and into the arms of a "Strongman."

    January 6th was the ultimate wake-up call!

    Even the dimmest MSM bulbs can't "both-sides" the past year.

  3. I think Trump's stolen election mantra is going to get old real quick. Nobody wants to hear a steady beat of somebody crying in their beer. I suspect that the GOP got dumped on by Trump's lame ploy to hold on to relevance and just don't know how to clear their plate of the nonsense without losing or weakening their own hold on power and relevance.

    An old lawyer friend of mine had a favorite expression he would use to explain how to extricate oneself from a nasty situation…." The truth is always an option"

  4. Re: the second shot, I think you're considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second shot. However, I do believe the clinical trials showed no hospitalizations, maybe even before the second shot, which means you're probably safe from the worst outcomes. 

  5. The breakdown of the Republican Party and the breakdown of the Communists in Russia was due to one common and pervasive factor.  Neither could handle the powerful influence of Elvis Presley and rock and roll on their culture.  Preposterous you say?  OK, I'll give you that but  then what do you call this?

    Ron Johnson is using his questioning time during the Capitol security hearing to promote a conspiracy theory that the January 6 insurrectionists weren't actually Trump supporters, but were "provocateurs" and "fake Trump protesters"

    I would say on a preposterous scale of 1 to 10 Ron Johnson's statement whips mine by almost double digits.

    It has been a long road for the Republican Party to get to the point of tolerance for and loyalty to total nonsense.  If this was a functioning political party, the next scene should have been men in white coats, agents of the Republican Party, hauling him out of the Senate chambers.

    It is so crazy it is embarrassing to watch.  

    It is not cancel culture to demand that your elected officials act like sane people not like people with severe mental health problems.


    • Bernie, I largely agree with your theory that Rock 'n' Roll killed the USSR.  I realized that the USSR wasn't a real threat when a good friend of mine came back from an exchange-student semester in Leningrad and reported that his best friend there had every Frank Zappa album ever made.  Pretty obvious that they (USSR) weren't really competent at controlling the minds of their populace (no effective totalitarian bureaucracy would tolerate or allow anything by Zappa to be heard).


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